June 8 was a red letter – and red stole! – day for Ann Truitt who was ordained to the sacred order of deacons by the Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston, Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia. Church of the Epiphany, Herndon opened its large and light-filled sanctuary to hundreds of family and friends for the service of ordination for eight people from all over the Diocese. Ann’s group of presenters included the Rev. Leslie Hague, Barb Adams (who vested Ann in her new red stole), Rick Hightower, Laura West (who carried the St. Michael’s banner in the procession), the Rev. Debbie Rutter, and Nita Beran (representing Ann’s field education parish, Calvary Episcopal, Front Royal). A large number of St. Michaelites also attended the service and reception afterwards.
Ann has been a parishioner at St. Michael’s for the past ten years, and her journey to the priesthood has been a unique pilgrimage with some detours along the way. At St. Michael’s she has been active in many aspects of parish life, especially in ministry to the nursing home and in teaching a number of adult education courses. With an insatiable appetite for knowledge about “all things spiritual,” she began studies at Wesley Theological Seminary, and then in 2006 successfully completed all requirements for fulfilling a call to ordained ministry before being denied postulancy by then-Bishop Lee. Surprised and disappointed, she took some time off from seminary and church, focusing instead on her demanding work in field acquisitions for the State Department, where she has been employed since 1994.
Eventually, she came to realize that her call into ordained ministry had become even more focused and clear. With Mother Leslie’s encouragement she re-entered the discernment process in 2009, was approved for postulancy by Bishop Johnston, and began working to fulfill the remainder of her educational and field work assignments. She had also returned to Wesley and completed the Master of Theological Studies degree in 2010.
While continuing to work full-time at her job, Ann completed a year of Anglican studies at Virginia Theological Seminary and successfully passed her GOEs (General Ordination Examinations) this spring. Last summer she took a sabbatical from her job to complete her Clinical Pastoral Education component at Goodwin House, an experience she describes as holy, humbling, and a blessed opportunity to serve. Beginning in the fall of 2011 and continuing through May of this year, she did her field education at Calvary Episcopal, Front Royal, where she was active in Sunday worship and all aspects of parish life. This summer she will complete the required Mid-Atlantic Parish Training program at St. Alban’s Episcopal, Annandale.
Ann is grateful for all the opportunities to grow, serve, and develop spiritually which have been nurtured at St. Michael’s, especially by Mother Leslie, Father George and Mother Corry, but also with all the parishioners with whom she serves in the body of Christ. She looks forward to continuing her journey as a transitional deacon, serving under the Bishop and awaiting ordination to the priesthood which is scheduled for December 2013. While she is eligible to retire from the State Department in November 2013, she is not certain what the future might hold for her. However, her journey thus far has taught her that while God is not predictable, He is faithful and will use her to serve His people as He has equipped for her to do. As an ordained deacon, she looks forward to taking part in this “special ministry of servanthood…to serve all people, particularly the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely.” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 43).